How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

‘Tis the season to be jolly–and to gain weight. You spend all year working out and eating right, just for the holiday sauce to come and smother your plan with fat. Don’t let those Santa cookies and powerful punch turn your hard work into the ghost of Christmas past! Use these tips to maintain your healthy diet and stay active through this time of temptation. Let’s begin!

Most holidays are associated with certain foods. Christmas at your house might not be the same without your aunt’s green been casserole, but that doesn’t mean food has to be the main focus. Instead, throw yourself into the other rituals a holiday brings, whether it’s caroling or tree trimming. Focus on the fun and family, not the food. Drink lots of water so you won’t feel as hungry and will be more energized each day. 

Skip the store-bought cookies at Christmas, but do save some calories in your ‘budget’ to sample treats that are homemade and special to your family, such as your  special Yule log cake. Training yourself what to indulge in and what to skip is much like budgeting your mad money: Do you want to blow it on garbage that you can buy anywhere or on a very special, one-of-a-kind souvenir? Just don’t completely deprive yourself on festive days – your willpower will eventually snap, and you’ll end up overeating. Making your own meals also allows you to remove useless sugars and healthify your treats.

The habit: Staying physically active during the holidays. The result: Gaining less weight over the years. The proof: A study conducted by the U.S. government found adults gained, on average, more than a pound of body weight during the winter holidays – and that they were not at all likely to shed that weight the following year. (That may not sound like a lot now, but it means having to buy roomier pants after a few Christmases pass.) The good news is that the people who reported the most physical activity through the holiday season showed the least weight gain. Some even managed to lose weight. This doesn’t mean drop talking to your relatives for the gym each day. Simply add in small exercises throughout the day. Crunches, squats, and back exercises can all be done in bed or near a bed.

You may be celebrating, but that doesn’t mean that that you should send your meal plan (and your judgment) on holiday. Alcohol can interfere with your blood sugar by slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream; it also contain a lot of calories – 89 calories per glass of white wine or champagne, 55 calories in a shot of vodka, and 170 calories in a pint of stout beer. What’s more, alcohol breaks down your inhibitions and judgment, which makes you that much less likely to resist the junk foods that you would otherwise be able to pass up. Plus make the office Christmas party one that you won’t, regrettably, be able to forget. 

 

Inner Thigh Workouts & Thigh Gap Truth Revealed!

The thigh gap. A small amount of space between your legs that females everywhere beat themselves up over. Many females see this gap as a sign of “skinny” or “in shape”, but they are terribly wrong. In order to obtain a natural thigh gap your body composition must be changed. Thigh gaps are solely based on bone structure, and you shouldn’t damage yourself over bones. Girls with thigh gaps have wider hips that spread their pelvic bones out. The only people who have a thigh gap that doesn’t seem natural to their bone structure are corpses with decaying muscles. Many of the pictures of thigh gapped girls are taken with a certain modeling technique. You simply stick your feet together, arch your back, stick your bum out but remain upright, and try to push your knees out. This will bow-leg your knees and create a “natural thigh gap”. Your thighs are beautiful, healthy limbs attached to your glamorous body. Embrace them! Love them! Don’t worry about a thigh gap. A man won’t love you less if your thighs touch, and if he does he is not worth your time. According to a survey, 9 out of 10 men would rather their girl not push for a thigh gap and just embrace her own body.

The inner thigh area is an area that is capable of housing strong muscles. Toned thighs start from the inside out and these steps will help you tone up your inner thigh area to become muscular and healthy. No thigh gap, no problem. Let’s begin!

Illustration of first-position plie squat

Begin with heels touching and toes slightly turned out.  Keeping heels together, rise up onto your toes. (Hold on to a wall if you feel wobbly, but maintain posture.)  Bend your knees into a half squat for two counts, then come back up in two counts, keeping heels together. Complete 5 reps of 10.

Illustration of squat with ball

Position your feet shoulder-width apart with toes pointed straight ahead. Place a medium rubber ball (or a knotted beach towel) between your legs just above the knees. Squeezing your inner thighs to keep the ball steady, lower into a squat for two counts. Hold for one, then return to standing for two counts.

Illustration of wide-stance arm swing

Place your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart and point toes to 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. Grasp a dumbbell (three to five pounds for beginners, 8 to 12 for more advanced) vertically in front of your stomach. With arms straight, lift the weight to shoulder height as you lower into a squat for two counts. Hold for one count, then slowly lower the weight and return to standing for two counts.

Illustration of wide-stance squat

Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and toes pointed out to 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. Slowly lower for two counts into a squat position. Hold the squat for one count, then straighten your legs for two counts to go back to the starting position.

Illustration of inner-thigh press with rubber ball

Lying on your back on a mat, bend your knees so that the soles of your feet are flat on the floor. Place a medium rubber ball (or a knotted beach towel) between your knees. Contract your inner thighs to squeeze the ball for 30 seconds. Relax for 10 seconds, then repeat the cycle four more times.

 

Blast Back Fat Away For A Strong, Sexy Back!

A strong back is needed to in order to prevent problems in other areas of the body such as the neck, hips, arms, legs, and the respiratory system. A strong back is a key factor in healthy posture. It is essential to incorporate healthy fitness exercises for women that target your back for a fit and flawless figure. Having a strong back has many benefits. When your back is healthy you can breathe better, have excellent mobility and reduce to risk of injuring your back and other areas that are indirectly affected by your back. By maintaining a strong back through a set of exercises for women that focus on building a solid foundation for your back, you are able to see other benefits such as reduced body fat and toned muscles. These are all key components to a healthy and fit lifestyle where nutritious diet and regular exercise are followed. Let’s begin!

These strength exercise bands can be found at any sports related store. I usually use a medium resistance, but if you are new to exercise start slow so you don’t injure yourself. This exercise targets trapezius, lateral and front deltoids. Stand on the middle of a band with your feet shoulder-width apart. Cross the band in front of you and hold one handle in each hand. Leading with your elbows, pull the band upward until the handles reach your shoulders. Extend your arms back to the starting position to complete one rep. Repeat for your set.

For this exercise, you can either be seated on a yoga mat or a carpeted floor. It will target the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Loop a band around the soles of your feet, cross it in the center and hold one handle in each hand, arms straight. Bend your arms to pull the handles toward your sides as shown. Slowly extend your arms to finish one rep. If this move feels too easy, gather some of the band’s slack in the palm of your hands.

For the straight-arm pullover, you need a secure object or at many gyms they have machines that you latch the band around to pull. Wrapping it around a pole or secure piece of furniture will work too. This targets the latissimus dorsi, hamstrings, erector spinae, gluteus maximus. Anchor a band to a low, secure object in front of you. Hold a handle in each hand, step back from the anchor point and bend forward from the hips as shown. Straighten your knees and hips to stand, while simultaneously lifting your arms overhead. Slowly reverse to return to the start.

All you will need for this is two weights or you could wrap ankle weights around your wrists. This targets the posterior deltoids. Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand. Hinge forward from your hips and bend your knees slightly until your wrists are below your shoulders. Open your arms out and up until they form a straight line with your shoulders. Reverse slowly to return to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

The final exercise is one of the easiest. It targets the latissimus dorsi. Stand with your feet hip-with apart. Grasp the center of a resistance band with both hands, about a foot apart, and extend your arms overhead. Bend your left arm, drawing your elbow down to the side; stop when you feel a stretch in the left side of your back.  Slowly extend your arm back overhead and repeat. When your set is through, repeat with your right arm. Do three sets of 15 reps (each side).

Doing these every night before bed will make the fat melt off your back so you will be tank top and crop top ready in no time!

My Workout & Gym Essentials!

On average, I usually go to the gym 3-4 times per week. The gym I attend offers free classes that can range from Yoga to Kick-Boxing and Zumba. While working out at the gym, you don’t need the leg warmers and neon tights. These are a list of the simple products that I bring and wear if I am going to be working out. All of these can be found at your local Target, Sports Authority, Marshall’s, or Nike. Let’s begin!

For clothing, I usually stick to a legging, tank top, sports bra combo. Everything seen here is Nike, except for the shoes but I do recommend Nike sneakers. I prefer wearing leggings if I am going to be in Yoga, or doing ab exercises because they secure everything if your legs are in the air. My leggings are the cropped fit, where they only go to my knees. Having a spandex blend is the most breathable.

If you don’t like the longer bottoms, then I recommend Nike Pros. I wear these with a sports bra and a loose tank top if I am going to be sweating really hard. These shorts are like spandex shorts, yet they don’t ride up. Make sure you do get your correct size so nothing pops out while in the middle of your extreme workout.

During the cold months, I enjoy wearing long leggings. Yes, I know this print is atrocious, but it’s light and keeps me warm. I pair this with a jacket, beanie, and go for a run with my dog. These shoes are from Nike and the leggings are from Target.

Accompanied by my Nike Free Runs, this is my usual gym set up. My mat is from Marshall’s and I have a locker so I just throw it in for when I need it. My legging pants are from Target, along with my water bottle and shirt. The floral sports bra is from Sports Authority. I pack my water, a snack of almonds, my iPod, and my phone in a water-proof gym bag. Water-proof is better because my gym has a pool and I don’t want a wet swimsuit to ruin everything inside. And that’s it! You are now ready to look like a beauty, and train like a beast.

Summer Six Pack Abs!

You have the suit, the suntan oils, and what next? How about a perfect summer body to pair with that sexy two-piece suit. The abdomen can be a difficult place to strengthen for many women due to the different sections. Washboard abs, free of any fat deposits and chances of muffins tops do not merely add to good looks, but are also healthy. I have made simple workouts that can help with the upper abs, lower abs, and those love-handles! For a more advanced outlook on each workout, add either a weight or do more slower reps. Let’s begin!

 

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For each workout, you should do 15 reps and 2-3 sets each. You can add more reps for a stronger workout. Starting at the top is the Bicycle Crunch. Lifting your shoulders off the ground is key for a hard crunch. When pulling your elbow to your knee, try and hold it for a few seconds and make sure you are not just turning your neck into your knee. Next, is the Straight Lift and works on upper abs. Start with lifting your legs up straight and your back down flat. Reach up to your toes and then lower the back to the floor. Following this workout with the Lower Ab Roll. To begin, lay on your back with legs parallel to the floor and hands either under your booty or by your side. Slowly lift up legs and slowly bring them down to starting position. For a more advanced move, try lifting booty and legs into air then returning to starting position.

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The next set should be done with the same 15 reps and 2-3 sets each. The first workout is the dreaded Plank. In the picture it shows the two ways it can be accomplished. For beginners, I would suggest keeping the arms flexed, but for more advanced it is best to keep the elbows on the ground. Having a flat back and shoulders lined up with elbows will make you feel the burn. Hold each pose for 15-30 seconds. The final exercise is an updated Mountain Climber. Start in a beginner’s plank and crunch leg to elbow as the arms bend for more support. Keep abdomen area tight for each exercise.

These workouts can be done on a home floor, gym, or even on a bed. I recommend having either a yoga mat, carpet, or blanket under you as you complete the workouts since you will the laying on the floor. My favorite website for abdomen exercises can be found here. Good luck!

Beautiful Summer Booty Workout!

That time of the year is slowly inching its way here: Summer! Summer days are meant to be spent in a lawn chair, on a beach or pool, with all of your friends. I plan to be spending Summer that exact way. For many people, taking off that cover-up can be a challenge. Summer should be spent in adorable tops and bottoms, instead of a long fabric covering unwanted areas. This booty workout will ensure that your glutes stay fit and firm. A strong booty is important in the overall strengthening and functioning of the whole body. Everything in the body is connected. Strong glutes prevent injuries in other areas like hamstrings, knees, lower back, etc. And who doesn’t want a strong, beautiful back-side that’s lifted & toned?! If you stay consistent with this, you will see results by Summer time. Let’s begin!

First, a Booty Bridge will streghten your bottom plus your thighs. Try and stay in this position for 10-15 seconds and repeat 30 times. Don’t push to hard that you are feeling pain on your neck. A Side Slimmer should be done with either your body straight or at a diagonal. Make sure you go slowly to really ensure the workout. Repeat this 20 times. The Clam looks very difficult, but works very well. Start with your knees facing out from each other and switch the top leg so now it’s pointing inward. Repeat this 20 times. Going slowly with all of these workouts will give you the best burn.

The Heatwave is much like the Booty Bridge, except on the Heatwave you are only lifting your booty and not your entire back. Swaying hips will help with the workout. Repeat 30 times. Malibooty Hamstring Curl will work your bottom and hamstrings. This workout truly lifts up your booty. Go slow and extend your leg straight and bring it back in. Repeat this 20 times. Then, extend the leg and keep it straight as you raise the straight leg up to be parallel to the ground. Repeat this 20 times, as well. These workouts should take about an hour and can be done anywhere there is floor. I recommend using a soft surface like carpet, a rug, or a yoga mat underneath because you will be on your back and your hands and knees. Doing these workouts 2-3 times per week will give you that beautiful Summer booty!

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